mercredi 23 janvier 2008

Rewind 2007: Enrico David (ICA, London)

Resolved through aids

Ultra Paste

Enrico David became known a few years ago for camp paintings/tapestries that tapped into a post-YBA vogue for craft. Fortunately, he became more interesting than his initial output suggested; the work’s still as camp as Nigella Lawson licking a spoon but, working across drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations that borrow heavily from the worlds of art and design, David mixes darkness with his double entendres to attain an awkward and often awful grandeur. Downstairs, he seems to play on the term (of abuse?) ‘theatrical’. For openers, there’s a long-winded introduction to a play, ‘Shitty Tantrum’, in which he concedes that his real aim might be ‘to paint a picture well and set it in a good light’. This he does in subsequent works on paper in which psychological depth is challenged by his use of flat-as-a-pancake gouache.

Upstairs, the installation ‘Spring Session Men’ – the highlight of the show – features the surreal bureaucracy of a troupe of stylised dancing businessmen-of-sorts, depicted on a deco-ish, faux-marquetry panel running down one wall. This chamber is a kind of boardroom. Scattered about a conference table are photocopied agendas full of grimly hilarious topics up for discussion. Based on a collage by Surrealist and Picasso muse Dora Maar, a second installation is an interior space containing a photographic cut-out of the artist, his jeans pulled down, befriending an anatomical doll. As with almost all of David’s work, this is a world you’re allowed to peek into but definitely not permitted to enter. And, as with almost all of David’s work, that comes as quite a relief.
Martin Coomer, Fri Oct 5 2007

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